Friday, January 25, 2013

No Cures For What Ails Ya But A Couple Ideas to Help You Feel Better Anyway

On the topic of being know what drives me nuts? People who confuse Influenza and Norovirus. As an advanced hypochondriac and proud sufferer of OCD, I know a lot about all the different kinds of things that can make you sick and how the symptoms manifest and it peeves me to no end when people say they have the "stomach flu." 

There is no such thing as a "stomach flu." Got it? Stop calling it that. Call it a 24 Hour Virus, A stomach bug, Norovirus, Rotavirus or puking and crapping your digestive system out, but do not call it the flu.

The flu is a respiratory virus. It makes you cough. A lot. It is not a cold. If you have the flu you do not feel like you have a cold, not even a bad one. When you have the flu, like actually have it, you completely understand how people can die from it because you feel that bad. You will have a fever, chills, sore throat, congestion and body aches so bad that you won't want to move. The bad part of the flu lasts about a week but can take a month to fully recover from.

Also, there is a vaccine for it.

Now, there are all sorts of nonsense controversies surrounding the flu vaccine and tons of people swear that it doesn't work. I think this is because people don't know what the actual flu is. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say that they were mad that they had the vaccine and got the flu anyway and they were throwing up all night long. The vaccine worked. Just not against Norovirus, which is what they had and were not vaccinated for. I swear if people would stop calling Norovirus stomach flu there'd be a lot less controversy about the flu vaccine. Drives me crazy.

The confusion between stomach viruses and influenza really tends to cause chaos in my life because of my lovely OCD which is triggered by the mere mention of stomach viruses. They are my worst fear because to me, there is just no greater misery, short lived though it is. I will do anything to avoid coming into contact with one so when someone says they have the flu, I never know for certain what they mean. If they have the real flu we're all clear because I get my shot every year and I'm safe, but there is no vaccine for stomach viruses (jeez, I wish there were) so I have to go into OCD Code Red Emergency Status. The hand washing, sanitizing, bleaching and freaking out begins and usually lasts about a week.

So lately it seems like everyone is sick with something. This has been a hard winter for illness. We've had a few bad colds already and Baby Lawns had a stomach virus in October, so I pray we are done for a great long while and that we can all enjoy a long period of good health.

When you get sick, everyone will tell you a bunch of ridiculous remedies that they swear will make you better. They won't. The only cure is time. Sorry. There are, however, a lot of remedies that will provide some comfort, and I'd like to share my favorites in case you too are under the weather.

Lemon Honey Tea - people believe this cures everything from strep to tuberculosis. It doesn't cure shit but it tastes good and soothes a sore throat. I sometimes add a slice of ginger, especially if my stomach is acting up.

Elderberry Syrup - I saw this on Dr. Oz. I know, shut up. Dr. Oz says it can shorten a cold or the flu but he is totally full of it. It doesn't. I tried it. However, it also tastes good and makes a decent cough syrup if you have that dry kind of cough where it feels like someone is sticking pins in your throat. If you've got a hacking chest cough then this doesn't do jack. You need some codeine.

Cough Drops - Ludens, people. Cherry. They are delicious. I could eat a whole box in one sitting just for fun.

Epsom Salts Baths - I'm unclear on the actual science behind this, but Epsom salts really seem to make me feel better. You have to add a pretty large amount to your bathwater though, like at least a full cup, and you should stay in for a while. I like my baths to be very hot and I like to add a few drops of essential oils so it smells good and I can pretend I'm in a spa.

Stick a Heating Pad in Your Bed - Under you, on your stomach, whatever. It feels nice when you don't. I like to rest my head on the heating pad when I get bad headaches and it really helps. Just don't fall asleep and burn your face and then blame me.

Jamba Juice - smoothies make everything better.

Orange Sherbet mixed with Sprite - I used to drink this concoction when I was sick growing up. It's not the healthiest thing, but it's really yummy.

Asian Soups - Everyone likes chicken soup but when I'm sick I like thai soups, pho and miso soup the best. I think the garlic, ginger and hot peppers really help to ease congestion and warm you up.

Netflix - You're sick. This is the perfect excuse to sit around and do nothing but watch movies. Alas, I have a two year old so I don't get to do this much, but I can dream. One day she'll be old enough to appreciate Wes Anderson with Mommy.

Burning Eucalyptus Oil - When someone in my house is sick I like to put a bunch of eucalyptus or peppermint or lavender oil in my oil burner and light it up. 

Eucalyptus Spray - I use this kind. I'm addicted to it. I spray it on myself, in the air, in the shower, over my bath when I'm soaking, in the car. I love it.

Zofran- This is the greatest drug known to mankind.  A powerful, non-sedative, perfectly safe, anti-nausea drug, it melts on your tongue so you can't puke it up. Ask your doctor for some so you can keep it on hand for emergencies. It's so safe they even give it to kids and since it came around, the rate of children hospitalized for dehydration has dropped dramatically. Also used extensively in pregnant women. I know. I couldn't go to work without it during my first trimester. Baby Lawns' pediatrician gave it to her for her virus last fall. MIRACLE DRUG. Also good to take with you on trips. Yay Zofran. Seriously, I think I need a Zofran tee shirt or something.

That's about all I've got. If you're feeling ill, I wish you well. Let me know some of your favorite remedies in the comments. 


Nicole said...

When I have a sore throat I will mix together some honey and vinegar and take it by the spoonful. I doubted it at first, but it actually does work.

Kerry said...

I'm with you on people confusing one virus for another. And on the ridiculous remedies. I'm with you on some of the "ease the symptom" stuff, though; lemon honey tea, hot Asian soup, cough drops and the heating pad.

Other things I've used for colds; cayenne pepper and black pepper in tomato juice, three days in a row. Honey is a good cough syrup for the sore throat; at least as good as commercially sold ones, and it's anti-microbial.

Anonymous said...

Tea--black (preferably English or Irish Breakfast). Honey. A splash of milk. A splash of whisky (preferably a decent blended scotch, like Cutty Sark; you don't want to waste single malt on this).

Gina said...

I have the same pet peeves - stomach bug vs flu, and OMG, I am going to punch the next person who tells me they don't get the flu shot because they got it once and it made them sick.

And when I have a cold/flu, Avgolemono Soup is my favorite. I think it's the lemon that does it.

Amy Bickers said...

THANK YOU! Every time someone tells me they had the flu, I think, "Did it last more than a day? Were you traumatized? Did you feel like you were going to die? Did you cry for your mommy? No? Then you, sir, did not have the flu!"

perl said...

Zofran . Yes. I hoard bottles of it (for norovirus, pukey migraines, whatever). Greatest drug ever. I'll take one of those t-shirts. And speaking of the's one of my greatest fears. There is no greater misery. I'm trying to bring back gloves as fashion. Like on Mad Men. The grocery store and door handles in general would not freak me out so badly if everybody wore little cotton gloves all of the time. Anybody with me?

ash said...

Grape juice works great for sore throat when you can't swallow pills.
I've recently become acquainted with my new best friend, Olbas. I bought the inhaler but now I want to get their herbal bath and lozenges.

I had norovirus and influenza and my period this week! yay.

Alison said...

Careful with hot epsom salt baths, though, I guess you're not supposed to take those if you have a fever?

I was all geared up to take one this week, ready to sweat those toxins out...but then I read it could put me in the hospital by doing wacky things to my internal temp, so I skipped it.

Personally I've eaten a 1.5 quart Turkey Hill ice cream over the course of three days. So, that's how I cope.

jenjellybeans said...

I had norovirus when I was 7 months pregnant. You know how the baby squashes all of your organs into a tiny ball inside your ribcage? That makes norovirus even more enjoyable. Both ends, at the same time, in the shower. I did not feel like a glowing pregnant lady that day. I felt like a walrus that had accidentally swallowed a bunch of lit firecrackers.

Cie said...

Virus' last longer than 24 hours. Most stomach ailments are actually mild food poisoning.

Lauren said...

I have Norovirus as we speak... it's actually the worst. I went to visit my grandmother in her nursing home and didn't notice the sign about some residents experiencing a "severe gastrointestinal virus" until I was on the way out. GREAT!!

Margaret said...

Where I live the stomach problem is known as le gastro (insert rolling r's and French accent here). I think it sounds just right and we all rear back in horror at its mention. My husband has just survived a male gastro, and we all know that it's much more serious than anything you or I might have!

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